Inside the fish bowl

Remember the story about the man who lost his life when he scarfed down an aquarium cleaner containing chloroquine to ward off the Wuhan virus on President Trump’s recommendation? Marc Thiessen put it this way in a recent column:

After the president expressed hope that the anti-malaria drug chloroquine was showing signs of success as a treatment for the coronavirus, news organizations tried to blame him for the death of an Arizona man who self-medicated with fish tank solvent that contained a different form of the substance. “Man dies after taking drug touted as coronavirus treatment by Trump,” CBS News declared. No, he didn’t. Trump never suggested anyone self-medicate with aquarium cleaner.

That must have been some fool for Trump, though the media never identified the fool by name. Now the Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman takes a look behind the headlines in “Woman Who Ingested Fish Tank Cleaner Is Prolific Donor to Democratic Causes.” Subhead: “Arizona woman who accidentally poisoned her husband donated to ‘pro-science resistance’ PAC, among others.”

What do we have here? Goodman reports:

The Arizona woman who said that she and her 68-year-old husband ingested a substance used to clean fish tanks after hearing President Donald Trump tout chloroquine as a cure for the coronavirus has given thousands of dollars to Democratic groups and candidates over the last two years.

The woman’s most recent donations, in late February, were to a Democratic PAC, the 314 Action Fund, that bills itself as the “pro-science resistance” and has vocally criticized the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and held up her case to slam the White House.

Although local and national media outlets withheld the couple’s names, the Washington Free Beacon established their identities through descriptions in local news reports, where the pair were identified by their first names and ages: Gary, 68, and Wanda, 61. The Free Beacon is withholding their identities at Wanda’s request.

Federal Election Commission records show that Wanda has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic electoral groups and candidates over the past two years, including Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and EMILY’s List, a group that aims to elect pro-choice female candidates.

Wanda told the Free Beacon that she and her husband were both Democrats, not Trump supporters. They heard about the potential benefits of chloroquine, an antimalarial drug, in news reports. She decided at the “spur of the moment” to try taking it, but reached for a fish tank cleaner in her pantry that contains chloroquine phosphate, a different and deadly form of the chemical. The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for the use of chloroquine to treat coronavirus on Sunday.

“We weren’t big supporters of [Trump], but we did see that they were using it in China and stuff,” Wanda told the Free Beacon. “And we just made a horrible, tragic mistake,” she said. “It was stupid, and it was horrible, and we should have never done it. But it’s done and now I’ve lost my husband. And my whole life was my husband.”

“We didn’t think it would kill us,” she added. “We thought if anything it would help us ‘cus that’s what we’ve been hearing on the news.”

Goodman has much more. Let’s jump to this:

She said she and her husband had decided to stay in their home to avoid catching the virus. They were spending much of their time watching media coverage.

“We were watching the news because we were self-isolating and getting pretty nervous. We were scared. I’m still scared,” Wanda told the Free Beacon.

She said she and her husband are not active on social media and don’t read much online news, but they get a lot of their information from television.

“I didn’t know, and I didn’t understand how serious it was,” she added. “It was the worst situation I could ever, ever, ever imagine anybody being in.”

Wanda told NBC News that her experience was a cautionary tale about taking the president’s words at face value. “Oh my God, don’t take anything. Don’t believe anything that the president says and his people,” she said. She told a local news outlet that she was still “pretty much in shock” over her husband’s death.

“We were just having the best day before this happened. I made him his favorite lunch, grilled steak and asparagus and red potatoes, and we were just having the best Sunday,” she said.

Try as I might, I have a hard time getting my head around this story. Something doesn’t compute. Whole thing here.

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